Sunday, December 18, 2011

December 18,2011 Birding on the Ottawa Christmas Bird Count.

It was a strange feeling this morning. I was the Ottawa Christmas Bird Count, no snow, and -12c! Not what you normally except in Ottawa. Over the 41 years I've been participating, this has happen only few times. It wasn't that long ago, December 16, 2007 that the count was finally canceled at noon due to a snow storm.  Unfortunately the lack of snow usually means the bird feeders will be slow and the birds will be dispersed over a large area making counting more difficult. With a lack of snow you can cover areas that are normally not accessible. During the morning the Ottawa River, Lake Deschenes had a thin layer of ice which forced many water birds to move to any open water and the Deschenes Rapids area had a good variety of ducks. Gull numbers were low due to the open waters, raptor number low, and most land birds too. A slow day in the field for most. Not to many highlights and no new species for the count. But it's always fun!

American Black Duck along the Ottawa River.

A male Barrow's Goldeneye near Mooney's Bay was a surprise find for the day. 

A great comparison of male Barrow's and Common Goldeneye.

A female Cooper's Hawk sitting on breakfast, a Rock Pigeon. 

Ready for take-off. 

A gray morph Eastern Screech-Owl at dusk.

The Eastern Screech-owl is an uncommon resident in the Ottawa area.  Due to its nocturnal native it goes undetected  in most areas. 

Ben scanning the open water off Britannia pier. On our first visit at dawn the river was many frozen with a thin layer of ice after dropping to -15c overnight. 

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